Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street Essay

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In the following essay, Marcus argues that Bartleby is a psychological double for the lawyer-narrator of "Bartleby the Scrivener."

Most interpreters of Melville's haunting story "Bartleby the Scrivener" (1853) have seen it as a somewhat allegorical comment on Melville's plight as a writer after the publication of Moby-Dick and Pierre. Others have suggested that the story dramatizes the conflict between absolutism and free will in its protagonist, that it shows the destructive power of irrationality or that it criticizes the sterility and impersonality of a business society. The last of these interpretations seems to me the most accurate, and the others suffer either from an inability to adjust the parts of the story to Melville's experience (or that of any serious writer), or to adjust the parts to one another.

I believe that the character of Bartleby is a psychological double for the story's nameless lawyer-narrator, and that the...

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This section contains 2,264 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street Study Guide
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